|We are back to our adventure again and we are getting a chance to experience Asia for the first time. It took us a couple of days to get over our jetlag. We flew out of San Francisco on Sunday afternoon and arrived in Thailand on Tuesday morning. We also, unfortunately, got those two middle seats on the long flight over again.
I must say Thailand is amazingly beautiful. The temples, known as Wats, are spectacular. We got the rare opportunity to celebrate Makabucha Day. Makabucha Day first took place during the time of Lord Buddha over 2500 years ago when 1250 monks came back to Weluwan Wanaram on the night of the full moon of the third lunar month. This celebration has become more popular over the years. This was the first time the hotel where we were staying actually took guests to participate in the celebrations. We had an opportunity to go to the Wat Arvuth, spent time speaking with the monks, and then walked around the Wat with everyone else three times. Really quite amazing. We are both learning what to do and what not to do. The first thing we learned was to enter the Wat without your shoes, kneel down and don't ever point your toes directly at Buddha. Modesty appears to be the same in most religions. Everything has to be covered which really adds to the heat.
We spent the next couple of days touring the numerous wats and palaces of Bangkok and enjoying some massages. I must say it is really hot. Over 100 degrees (38C) with humidity in the 90's is a little tough for me.
We then headed off to Chiang Mai which is in the northern portion of Thailand. This is a beautiful city with a hugh night market called the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar (Svenja you would have loved it), deals everywhere for small change. We bought lots of stuff.
One of my goals while in Thailand was to ride an elephant. Melissa and I were a little worried about the treatment of elephants and a bit reluctant to ride. Fortunately for us we hired a guide named, Du, who explained that was not the case. Thailand banned using elephants for logging, which in turn devasted the economy of the Mahouts. Mahouts are the people responsible for the training and care of the elephants. Instead they now train the elephants in the same way, but to perform for tourists. It turned out to be one of our highlights in Thailand. After watching them perform we rode one through the mountains and ended up traveling down the river towards the village. We also got a chance to visit an orchid farm. Beautiful orchids everywhere and for prices that were unbelieveable.
We are now heading off to Vietnam. Thailand has been great. The people here have been extremely friendly. We had the opportunity to ask our guide many questions about the culture and ways of the Thai people in the north. They are a patient and low-key people, which was good for my hyper-personality.